Stay Relevant by Making Yourself Obsolete

A guide to staying relevant in design and marketing

The title of this article may sound a little oxymoronic, after all, being relevant and being obsolete are polar opposites, right?

Relevancy isn’t static; it’s a fluid concept. Look at the original iPhone, widely regarded as a game-changer but now inarguably obsolete. But it wasn’t made obsolete by the competition; it was surpassed by future iterations of the same device. To this day the iPhone remains as one of the most relevant pieces of tech in existence, and that wouldn’t have been the case if Apple had just rested on their laurels after making their first phone.

Stay Relevant

The same ethos can be applied to those working in the design and marketing industries. The message is simple:

“If you don’t surpass yourself, someone else will”

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to learn to work with the latest technologies or subscribe to the latest creative trends; it’s more about always striving to improve and find better ways for things to be done.

Advice for staying relevant

  • Always be improving
  • Find better and more efficient ways to do your job
  • Look for inspiration, daily
  • Work on personal projects
  • Avoid stagnation at all costs

There is no specific universal standard for improving. What works for social marketing may not directly apply to brand development, but the underpinning theme is that staying relevant is a question of viewing yourself as your competition.

Even when things are going great and you’re pushing all the right buttons, try and maintain enough objectivity to see what you’re doing as the groundwork for improvement, then, when time is right, surpass yourself.

Remember, you don’t have to be some cut-throat ambition junky hellbent on career progression. This is a swimming lesson, now stop treading water!

Will Carey

About the Author

Will Carey is the founder of The Big Dot Company and Creative Chair. He started experimenting with digital design in the 90’s, turning it into a business after obtaining a degree in graphic design in 2012.